The best of Bubba Chuck.
It’s Allen Iverson’s birthday on Wednesday, which if you clicked on this post probably means either 1) his basketball legacy means a lot to you or 2) you have no idea about him, because you’re like 10 years old. If 3) you really don’t care about Iverson, you might be Skip Bayless.
Anyway, The Answer just turned 42, it’s been 16 years since he tried to singlehandedly take down the Lakers in the Finals. It’s a good time to take a break from your day job and indulge in some of his best highlights, some deep cuts from one of the most head-turning players ever. We’re leaving out the obvious Ty Lue step-over and the M.J. crossover, because you've definitely seen those a lot.
So go fake an extended bathroom break at the office, take a long lunch, whatever. Here’s some Iverson to brighten your day.
1993 Nike Camp
Here’s one you may not have seen before: As a high school senior, Allen Iverson makes a statement on the prep circuit at a Nike All-Star camp against a team led by Kevin Garnett. There are a good number of future NBA players on the court, Iverson’s wearing No. 11 in white, and his ridiculous body control and quickness are on display here, presented without any of the preordained narrative that would follow him over the course of his career. It’s a nice place to start. Also note the screaming, teenage Garnett around the 2:50 mark, and how good of a passer A.I. was at that stage.
A.I. drops 50 on the Cavs...as a rookie
This gives you a sense of how readymade Iverson was when he came into the league. For a guy his size, his blend of creativity and instincts to avoid defenders and find space around the basket were once in a lifetime. The retro Cavs court color scheme is also kind of cool. Look out for the ridiculous finish around 2:05. This was his fourth straight game of 40-plus points, and he’d stretch that streak to five, which was a rookie record, despite the fact Philly lost all five games.
2001 East finals, Game 7
The A.I. zeitgeist probably peaked in 2000–01, when Iverson, at the peak of his powers, carried a not-so-great Sixers supporting cast (with the exception of Dikembe Mutombo) all the way to the NBA Finals, where they lost to Kobe and Shaq, but not without a lot of memorable Iverson things happening. This was the winner-take-all game to get there, against a really good Bucks team that’s been forgotten a little bit over time. Bubba Chuck came up huge.
Career-high 60 vs. Magic
This came toward the end of his time in Philly, when Iverson got extremely hot and put on a serious display against Steve Francis and the Magic. This was his career-high, so enough said.
Ok, still iconic.